Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Drawing The Fire Of Fools

For all the discussion of the gun safety reform bill fighting its way through the hostile lobbyist fire of the extremist Republicans on Capitol Hill, several other issues also seem to be pushing their way to the front of the media space this week.

From an oddly timed audio leak from the office of Republican Senator Mitch McConnell and juvenile yet scientific stories about sexual organs, to the more serious stories of how Wall Street banks cheated millions of homeowners and President Obama's controversial budget plan, it seems more than a few of our colleagues in the media don't have the professional fortitude to tackle the single biggest topic of the week.

Thankfully, our staff and some of our more ethical colleagues in the media haven't taken our eyes off that target, the topic of effective gun legislation reforms, on a national level.

Like a child running with a fluttering kite, the very real possibility of effective gun safety legislation being enacted hasn't just drawn the eye of most Americans who are sick and tired of lax and dangerous gun laws, while supporting items like universal background checks. The opportunity to update and revise gun laws to actually be more effective - as they already have been in New York, Colorado, Connecticut, and Maryland - has also drawn the fire and the fear of the gun manufacturers' lobbyists.

For once, it appears a growing number of Congresspersons, on both sides of the aisle, are finally finding the courage to stand up for what 90% of the American public wants.

Surprisingly, Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid - who lately has shown an amazing lack of courage when performing his job - stepped up and filed the Senate paperwork forcing debate and possible votes on the gun reform bills in the Senate, this Thursday.

As of Wednesday morning, the attempt by Republicans like Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and Mitch McConnell to filibuster and block even the discussion of those bills appears to be falling flat on its face. Not only have Democrats stepped up to demand Senators in Congress actually debate the gun reform legislation, but Republicans have joined their Democratic colleagues in demanding the end to threats of a spineless filibuster from extremist Republicans.

Meanwhile, Democratic Senator Joe Manchin and Republican Senator Pat Toomey appear to have found a compromise on the issue of universal background checks, that they seem to think could pass the Senate, and maybe even the House.

One more state is even loudly moving forward on its own gun control legislation, Rhode Island, led by former Republican-turned Independent, Governor Lincoln Chaffee.

For all those in the media who've said more times than we can remember since the horrible shootings of 12/14, that the effort to enact sensible, effective, gun reforms was dead, we want to remind you of two things that certain ethical members of the media have championed all along - including us.

First, that the primary goal in the battle for sensible gun safety reform has NEVER been to renew the federal assault weapons ban, but rather - as Greg Sargent has diligently noted almost daily for months - the real goal has always been to enact an effective universal background check system.

Secondly, we remind everyone - this battle isn't over by a long shot. No matter what happens in Congress this week, no matter what you hear on cable TV and talk radio, this fight still won't be over anytime soon.

Don't get distracted.

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